H́nh ảnh trang

This puts a stop to all valuable improvement of the ground, the miserable peasant endeavouring to raise no more from it than just what serves to support his family, well knowing that if he should meliorate his land, his rents will be raised of course. If he should get a little money, it is generally hid in the earth, and the possessor often dies without revealing where his treasure lies so that it is commonly believed that much more money is concealed in the earth, than what is in actual circulation. When opprefsion becomes intolerable, the people have no other resource but to remove to another province, perhaps to the lands of another prince. It is true, that these migrations are more common among manufacturers; and I have known more than one of them in about five years that I was in India. But they are also not rare among peasants. A few buffaloes or goats are driven before him; his household furniture is in a manner nothing; two carts will carry the very materials of his house, and the labour of two days will build him a new one. By these frequent migrations the people contract not any affection for the natale solum; as many can scarcely tell where was the place of their birth; and their parants and near relations are scattered over the whole continent of India. When forced or hired to military service, they have no regard for the sovereign; and I have letters from French officers that were present when they changed sides by ten or twelve thousand at a time. Of the abuses that arise from the method of letting grounds, I will give you a striking instance from original letters that are now in my pofsefsion. There fell into our hands a French pattyman (courier,) who had letters from, I believe, every one of the council of Pondicherry. These letters give an account that their governor had let for 150,000 rupees some lands that used before to pay 400,000; so here was a deduction

May 1 of about 25,000l. sterling from the public treasury. No body will doubt that the governor had a valuable consideration from the financier; and as few will doubt that Britons may be corrupted as well as French


For all these evils there is an easy and an obvious remedy. Let the peasants that now pofsefs the ground be declared hereditary proprietors of the lands they now have in lease, paying to the sovereign, as a land tax, the same sum they now pay to the financier as rent. The consequence will be a great encrease to the revenue, without any additional burden to the landholder; the grounds will be improved to the utmost, when every man knows that he is providing a lasting inheritance for his family; the money they now hide in the earth, will be produced and brought into the commerce of life; every moneyed man in India will come in troops to lay out their money in the only place where they can purchase an inheritance; every one will, according to his abilities, build more solid habitations, which they could not leave without regret, and lofs to themselves; all will be filled with esteem and affection for a government under which they enjoy a blessing hitherto unknown in India; they will contract that natural affection every one feels for the town or village where he was bred up, where all his nearest and dearest connections are to be met with, and where he has rejoiced with the companions of his youth;; the neighbouring princes will have no other way of retaining their subjects but by following the example of Britain.

As all my literary occupations can never produce any other advantage to myself, but merely a temporary amusement, the foul copy of the original letter has, by a carelefsnefs usual with me, been mislaid or lost; you have

[ocr errors]


here the rough sense of it; so that if it is to be fhewn
to any body, it will much need polishing; and I know that
put it into a very able hand, for that purpose. But this
my scheme can serve for no use, as people in power aim
only at private emolument, or the support of their own
party, The British possessions in India have grown too
extensive. I foresee a storm that will probably soon rise
from those quarters. Consider that the armies there are
not supported, like other armies sent abroad, by money sent
from the Metropolitan country, but by rents arising from
the subject provinces; so that every popular governor has
an army ready to be employed against whom he pleases. It
is well that there have been hitherto only avaricious go-
vernors, that have aimed at nothing else than accumulating
If either Madras or Bengal fhould have an am-
bitious governor who aims at power, there could be no
pofsibility of subduing him, but by the afsistance of
the other. If both at one time fhould aim at indepen-
dence, they may bid defiance to Europe. And if Eu-
rope will not trade with them, America will.

The peers who now support the tumultuous commoner are mistaken in their politics. If the democratical faction prevails, peers will become as insignificant as they were during the long parliament. Take it for a certain truth, as if it had come from the adyta of an oracle; or, if you please, as certain as if you had read it in Nahum or Habakkuk.

I presume, and hope it is needlefs to put my name below to protest duty, respect, service, dc. You know who is the only man, that will draw up a scheme for the public good, when he can reap no good from it to himself.

Feb. 8. 1784.


Continued from p. 300.

THE paper referred to was printed before any notice arrived at this place of Mr Pitt's intention of carrying into practice a plan for the relief of the country, nearly on the same principles with that recommended here. This appears to be cne of the most beneficial exertions of the power entrusted with government that has occurred in our time, and will do infinite honour to the minister who brings it forward. I question if in the annals of past times, a single instance can be found of an exertion of any governing power equally patriotic, judicious, and beneficient; and it affords a fine example of the necessity there is for the controul of government, and the utility mankind may derive from it when under the guidance of wisdom.



The present alarming situation of this country does not seem to proceed either from the interruption that the war has given to commerce, as has been often afserted, nor to a slackening in the demand either at home or abroad, nor to ruinous speculations which so often derange the economy of individuals. The manufacturers do not allege that their orders are discontinued from any quarter, nor that the prices offered are inadequate; but merely that the state of credit is at present so precarious, that they dare not venture to let goods go out of their hands at the usual credits allowed; and that from the unexpected interruption which has taken place in the practice of discounting bills, their funds are so entirely locked up as to put it out of their power to answer the immediate demands that have come upon them. That this is the case is sufficiently

obvious to all, seeing it is universally admitted, that nineteen out of twenty of the numerous bankruptcies that have happened are merely stoppages, where the funds are more than adequate to answer all the demands that can be made upon the parties concerned.

This evil, therefore, originates solely in the interruption that has taken place in the salutary practice of discounting bills and what, we may now afk, has occasioned this destructive interruption to discounting good bills?

It will not be difficult to answer this question. There is in general a certain quantity of floating cash in this country, which men with to keep at their command, ready to answer any emergencies. This has been usually in Scotland lodged with bankers, at a reasonable rate of interest, a little under that which is given for money lodged on other securities for a definite time. This floating stock has been usually applied almost solely to the accommodation of individuals with cash accounts, and to the discounting of bills. Upon the first prospect of the present war with France, stocks having fallen greatly below the par of peace, and it being universally believed that the war could not be of long duration, almost every person who had the command of money, wished to avail himself of the obvious benefit, that this circumstance presented to his view; so that almost the whole of this floating stock was instantly demanded from the bankers *. This rendered it inconvenient

* From the great wealth that certain bankers in Scotland have suddenly acquired by speculating in the funds, many persons sus· pected that something of the same kind might have been attempted by the bankers themselves, and that this circumstance took up a great part of that capital which ought to have been employed for accommodating the public. If so, the public would have had good reason indeed to complain of them; but it is scarcely to be believed that when embarrassments occurred, and the price of stocks not falling, they would not have retired that stock very soon. It would VOL. XIV.


« TrướcTiếp tục »